Purpose – This study was aimed at assessing the anthropometry and the nutritional status of a sample of the elderly in Turkey. It was designed as a cross‐sectional study using the mini nutritional assessment (MNA) scores to assess the nutritional status of the elderly living alone, with their family, and in nursing homes. Design/methodology/approach – The work was planned and carried out so as to assess nutritional status and MNA of 429 elderly people, aged 65 years and over living with their family ( n = 246), in nursing homes ( n = 127) or alone ( n = 56). Body weight, height, mid upper arm and calf circumference of elderly people was measured and they were asked personal questions. The list of questions included if the person pursues an independent life, the number of meals and food groups they consumed, the answers of which were scored and then assessed. With regard to MNA scale, a score of <17 is regarded as an indication of malnutrition, 17–23.5 indicates a sign for malnutrition risk and 24 and higher signifies normal level. The data were analysed with SPSS 10.0 for Windows. Means, standard deviations and cross tabulation tables were used as descriptive statistics. Pearson's correlation coefficients were determined in correlation analysis. Findings – A statistical analysis of the scores shows that 5.4 per cent of the elderly people living alone, 2.4 per cent of those living in nursing homes and 0.4 per cent living with families could be regarded as malnourished. It was also found that elderly people living in nursing homes have more risk for malnutrition. MNA scores, based on measurements such as body weight, BMI (body mass index) and mid upper arm indicated a significant correlation with the malnutrition. Practical implications – MNA appears to be a practical and reliable method to assess the nutritional status of elderly people and more importance should be attached to those living alone or in nursing homes to prevent their nutritional problems. Originality/value – Assesses the nutritional status of the elderly living alone, with their family or in nursing homes in Turkey.
Nutrition & Food Science – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: Nutrition; Elderly people; Turkey
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